Kim Boyd

Kim Boyd

I was a secondary school English teacher for 32 years, and have developed a passion for the great London writers such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf. I have brought up my family here and know how much London has to offer visitors and Londoners of all ages. I love to share my enthusiasm for the city with others, to celebrate the contemporary city, and to peel back some of the many layers of its history and culture – going back two thousand years to the foundation of the Roman city of Londinium.

London is densely packed with cultural locations where echoes from the past resound. As a former English teacher, I am keen to take groups to visit the haunts of writers including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde or Virginia Woolf. One of my favourite walks starts in the City of London at the site of a house Shakespeare bought towards the end of his career, before crossing the river and exploring Bankside, the Elizabethan entertainment district, and having a look at the reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. This is just one amongst many of the items from the past which crowd the thoroughfares of this still-busy stretch along the south bank of the Thames. There's the option of finishing up at the George Inn on Borough High Street, the only remaining galleried inn in London, where acting groups like Shakespeare's once performed for audiences in the courtyard below.

I have grown to know and love London's magnificent and historic churches and cathedrals, such as Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. You might wish to join me in visiting these, or royal London locations such as the Tower of London, or the Mall with its two royal palaces, around which the spectacle of the Changing of the Guard can be observed. Then we have Windsor Castle, maritime Greenwich and Hampton Court Palace – each one a distinctive, complex and impressive site, replete with hundreds of years of history, and within easy reach of central London.

There are also the free-to-visit world-class art galleries such as the Tate and the National Gallery. Or why not visit the Natural History Museum, or the British Museum, with its eight million artefacts from two million years of human culture? If applied and decorative art are up your street, then the Victoria and Albert is worth looking into, with its fabulous Ardabil carpet, the collection of enormous Raphael cartoons, the absorbing Rodin sculptures - and there's "Tipoo's Tiger": a fascinating if somewhat disturbing work of late eighteenth century Indian art which has much to say about Britain's colonial era.

A great way to explore London is to come on a walk around an area of historic London such as: the City of London, full of churches rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London; Clerkenwell, with its former monastery sites, its traces of writers such as Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens; or Spitalfields, with its fascinating history of migrant settlement and communities through the centuries - and its Bengali restaurants, if you like a curry!

Outside London itself, you could join me on a journey around Stonehenge with its ancient and mysterious stones, drawing visitors in like a great magnet. Then there's the Roman and Georgian city of Bath; the "dreaming spires" of Oxford; the delightful Cotswold villages; or the great medieval cathedrals of Salisbury, Winchester and Canterbury. Finally, if you want to find out more about William Shakespeare, I would love to take you on a visit to his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, where you can visit, amongst other wonderfully preserved sites, the church where he was christened and where he was finally laid to rest. To round off your visit, you could finish your day with an outing to one of three Royal Shakespeare Company theatres in the town.

 

Languages

English

Top 5 Specialities

Victoria & Albert Museum Tour

Westminster Abbey Tour

Tower of London Tour

St Paul’s Cathedral Tour

Guide Calendar Last Update: 13th of January, 2024

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